PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. – The first three players in No. 1-seeded Alabama’s match play lineup on Friday in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Men’s Golf Championships were able to score victories over their Kent State counterparts and send the Crimson Tide into Saturday’s semifinal at The Riviera Country Club.
The Crimson Tide will face fourth-seeded California, who defeated San Diego State 3-2, in the semifinals with the match starting at 12 p.m. (CDT).
Thomas went off first for Alabama and scored a 6 & 5 win over KSU’s Kevin Miller, closing him out with a par on the 13th. Cory Whitsett then dispatched Kyle Kmiecik 5 & 4 on the 14th green to put two early points on the board.
“We had two guys play just fantastic golf (Thomas and Whitsett) and in our tournament schedule we probably would have had a low score today,” Alabama head coach Jay Seawell said, “but you have to get three wins and that last point is always hard. We knew coming in that to get to three (points) is hard.”
Tide junior Scott Strohmeyer, who was the third UA player out on the course, had a commanding 5-up lead through nine holes but slow saw his lead over the Golden Flashes’ Taylor Pendrith dwindle to 2-up on the 16th. He sunk a long par putt on the 16th to halve the hole and then two-putted for birdie on 17 to close out the match, securing the Alabama victory.
“I am really proud of (Scott),” Seawell said. “He probably became the anchor of why this program went from being very good to being one of the best teams in the country. He brought some confidence to the other guys and some maturity. They just believe in him.
“He has continued, since the time we put him in the lineup after Las Vegas, to really get better and better every week. I have total faith him. That looked like a 12-foot putt (on No. 17) but it was only probably two. He knocked it right in the center, and I don’t think anyone doubted he was going to.”
Senior Hunter Hamrick, playing in the fifth spot and anchoring the UA lineup, had battled to all square with Mackenzie Hughes through 14 holes before Strohmeyer ended the match. Sophomore Bobby Wyatt fell to KSU’s Corey Conners 4 & 2.
Alabama will start the same lineup on Saturday against California that if did against Kent State. UA’s Thomas will go out first vs. Max Homa. Whitsett will square off with Brandon Hagy with Scott Strohmeyer playing Pace Johnson. The fourth match will pair Wyatt and Michael Kim with Hamrick and Joel Stalter going off last.